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Turkish president accuses U.S. of ‘clearly’ supporting Kurdish forces

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On Monday, after the U.S. State Department published a statement decrying the killing of 13 Turkish civilians, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the department of “clearly” supporting Kurdish militants, according to The Hill.

“The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” the State Department said in the statement, saying that “[w]e stand with our NATO Ally Turkey.” However, the department noted that “[i]f reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK,” a Kurdish militant group labeled as a terrorist organization by Turkey, “are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

As The Hill pointed out, Reuters reported Monday that the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, was summoned to the Turkish capital of Ankara while Erdoğan went after the State Department’s comments in an impassioned speech.

“Now there is a statement made by the United States. It’s a joke. Were you not supposed to stand against the PKK, the YPG? You clearly support them and stand behind them,” Erdoğan said in a speech delivered in the city of Rize, according to Reuters.

Following the deaths of the 13 Turkish civilians, Turkey detained over 700 individuals, including members of a pro-Kurdish political party, the country’s Interior Ministry said Monday, according to Reuters.

In December, toward the end of his term in office, then-President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Turkey over the country buying a Russian missile defense system, after the Trump administration faced criticism for delaying sanctions on Turkey for months, as The Hill noted.

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have become strained in recent years, as the two NATO allies’ interests in the Middle East have clashed more and more, especially in Syria and Iraq, where the U.S. has backed Kurdish groups.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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